SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1CR24-011 03/26/07

 

FIRST DEGREE MURDER (BY MEANS OF POISON) -- 13 V.S.A. 2301 (and common law)

 

The State has charged (Def)_______________ with first degree murder by means of poison, as follows:

[Read the charge.]

Every crime is made up of essential elements. Before (Def)_______________ can be found guilty of the charge, the State must have proven each of the essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt. In this case, the essential elements are that on the date and at the place alleged,

(1) (Def)_______________;

(2) caused the death of (victim)_______________;

(3) the killing was unlawful;

(4) (victim)_______________s death was caused by means of poison; and

(5) in causing the death of (victim)_______________, (Def)_______________ acted with an intent to kill, or an intent to do great bodily harm, or a wanton disregard of the likelihood that death or great bodily harm would result.

The first essential element is that (Def)_______________ is the person who committed the alleged acts.

The second essential element is that (Def)_______________ caused the death of (victim)_______________. The State must have proven that (Def)_______________s acts produced (victim)_______________s death in a natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause. [An efficient intervening cause would be an unexpected, independent force that broke the connection between (Def)_______________s acts and (victim)_______________s death.] You must conclude that (victim)_______________s life ended by means other than natural causes, accident, or suicide. You must also conclude that, but for (Def)_______________s acts, (victim)_______________s death would not have occurred.

The third essential element is that the killing was unlawful. The term unlawful killing means that (victim)_______________ was killed without legal excuse or legal justification. Legal excuse or justification ordinarily refers to such things as self-defense or legal necessity. [A killing may be justified where a person acts in self-defense, or in defense of another, or in trying to stop another person attempting to commit certain violent felonies. Here, the State must have proven that (Def)_______________ did not act in self-defense, or in defense of another, or in trying to stop another person attempting to commit (felony)_______________ with force or violence.]

The fourth essential element is that (victim)_______________s death was caused by means of poison. The word poison means any substance introduced into the body which, by its chemical action, is capable of causing death.

Here the State alleges that (Def)_______________ caused the death of (victim)_______________, by (specific acts)___________________.

The last essential element is that, in causing the death of (victim)_______________, (Def)_______________ acted with (1) an intent to kill, or (2) an intent to do great bodily harm, or (3) a wanton disregard of the likelihood that death or great bodily harm would result. As you consider (Def)_______________s mental state at the time of the killing, you should consider all of the surrounding facts and circumstances, and you must decide whether the State has proven that (Def)_______________ acted with at least one of these three mental states.

A person acts intentionally if he or she acts purposely, and not inadvertently, because of mistake, or by accident. You may find that (Def)_______________ acted intentionally if it was [his] [her] conscious objective to cause death or great bodily harm to (victim)_______________.

The term great bodily harm means bodily injury which involves a substantial risk of death, serious permanent disfigurement, or long-term loss or impairment of the function of any part of an organ of the body.

As used here, a wanton act is a reckless act done with extreme indifference to the probability that someone would die as a result. It is more than extreme negligence. The State must have proven that (Def)_______________ was actually aware of the risk of death or great bodily harm, and that [he] [she] ignored that risk. In determining (Def)_______________s state of mind, you should consider all of the facts and circumstances established by the evidence.

All of the elements of the offense must have been present at the same time. If the State has not proven each of the essential elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must find (Def)_______________ not guilty. However, if the State has proven all of the essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you must return a verdict of guilty.